Alyssa Rosenberg

Is Casting Nearly 40-Year-Old Penelope Cruz as New Bond "Girl" a Feminist Triumph?

The news that Penelope Cruz is in talks to play the romantic lead opposite Daniel Craig in the next James Bond film has prompted all sorts of reactions from across the web. Is it “a feminist breakthrough” that Craig will be playing across and actress close to his own age? Is noting that Cruz, who will be 39 or 40 when filming begins, the oldest actress to step into those stilettos opposite Bond, “drearily chauvinistic“? Or is age not really what matters here at all?

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Chicago Public Schools Take Marjane Satrapi’s ‘Persepolis’ Out Of Seventh-Grade Classrooms

Over the past couple of days, a kerfuffle’s been unfolding in the Chicago Public Schools after the administration announced that Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel memoir Persepolis would be removed from seventh-grade classrooms, due to concerns about the language and content, apparently in particular, the book’s portrayal of torture during the Iranian Revolution. It’s not clear to me that a specific parent complaint prompted the book’s being pulled from the curriculum, but it’s still a disappointing decision, given how wonderfully attuned Persepolis is to the inner lives of children and teenagers, particularly teenage girls. And as the decision’s become a political football between the school administration and the Chicago Teacher’s Union, it’s also become a test case in how to handle changes to curriculum poorly, in a way that shows a lack of respect both for students and for strong material itself.

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Bloomberg Businessweek Should Explain How Its Racist Cover Got Selected And Published

To highlight a story about the return of dangerous, pre-crash practices to the housing market, Bloomberg Businessweek decided to publish a cover that didn’t just blame consumers rather than lenders for the rise of subprime lending and the treatment of mortgages as a way to get access to cash, but specifically portrayed consumers of color (and female consumers) for engaging in this behavior:

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What Happened to the Female Comedy Boom?

Six months ago, it seemed like we were at the verge of a promising new age in female comedy (at least, if you’re a white lady). Bridesmaids was a big, and unexpected, hit. And it was the beginning of a television season in which the hottest trend was sitcoms created by women. As much as I would have wished for a string of hits, the results have been more predictable. The shows have ranged from the toxic Are You There, Chelsea? and 2 Broke Girls, to the increasingly-tolerable New Girl, to the outright winning Up All Night. And despite the boom in shows created by women, the episodes of these programs have been overwhelmingly directed by men. And men have written slightly more than half the episodes in six shows I examined. If a revolution for women in entertainment is under way, this fall may have been the vanguard, but in both employment of women and depictions of them on television, we’re a long way from victory.

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